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'If you don't innovate, you are dead'

Last updated on: October 20, 2009 17:49 IST

'If you don't innovate, you are dead'

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Manu A B in Mumbai

"You need to be a fast learner to succeed," says Suyash Trivedi, who is all set to start his dream venture AdScoot.

As the name suggests, the company will start off with advertising on scooters. A cost effective advertising medium to reach out to people, these scooters will go to any locality, advertise products and even distribute samples of products, especially in rural areas.

AdScoot promises to launch scooters with Global Positioning System (GPS) giving marketers a web interface to log in and monitor the scooters, live in action. Being a marketing enthusiast, Suyash completed management studies from Narsee Monjee college in Mumbai.

Passionate about Internet and marketing, he joined Directi. But a regular job did not enthuse him, he wanted to do something on his own.

Suyash finally went ahead and started his own venture. In five years, he hopes to make AdScoot a diverse marketing company, offering an array of clutter breaking, innovative and economical marketing solutions. Suyash Trivedi reveals more on how Adscoot can make a difference in the advertising space.

How did you became an entrepreneur, the difficulties you faced in setting up your enterprise?

I became an entrepreneur to make sure I can do what I like to do.  I worked for a couple of years. But I knew I needed to move out and start something. For a few months, I assisted a film maker who was shooting a wildlife documentary in the jungles of Gujarat. I was surprised to see how they did what they loved, and didn't bother about anything else. I reckon those few months in the forest sealed the deal for me. I started a website in the process too. I decided to start AdScoot.

Was your family supportive?

My family has been very supportive. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. My father is a doctor and mother, a banker. They have never been business oriented. Being science graduates, they don't understand where money comes in with a Website, and how outdoor media functions. But they've been great. It's tough to start a venture without your parents' support.


Image: Suyash Trivedi, founder, AdScoot.

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When do you plan to launch operations?

We plan to start operations in rural India soon. We have been haggling to get permits for sometime now. We need multiple permits, which takes a while to process. As soon as that is sorted, we will be set to launch operations in the city as well.

Most people find finance a major constraint to start a venture. How was it for you?

Finance was a major constraint. I worked for a couple of years and spent some of the money I saved in setting up another Website. I was looking at an angel investor to begin with. But couple of friends came over, loved the idea, and decided to pitch in. I reckon as an entrepreneur you have to have a close set of friends and family.

Have you received funding? Do you have plans to approach VCs?

No official funding as yet, apart from the one mentioned above. The day we feel we aren't growing due to lack of money, we'll approach a VC.

How do you see the demand for scooter advertising in India?

I think the demand will be good. It's affordable, eye catching and reliable. So marketers might want to give it a try. What really matters is how the campaign works for them, and if they are happy with the execution.


Image: Adscoot set to launch a unique marketing initiative.

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What are the advantages of scooter advertising?

Most importantly, it is a very cost effective medium. Even a small and medium player can do an outdoor campaign with scooter advertising. We generally connect outdoor advertising with big bucks. AdScoot is trying to change that perception.

You can decide where the scooter travels, the time and the duration. For example, if you believe your target audience resides near a college, you can drive these scooters there and no where else. It allows marketers to reach their audience rather than wait for them to reach you.

What kind of services will you be offering?

The scooters have a global positioning system (GPS) with them. We give the marketer a Web interface to log in and monitor the scooters, live in action. We also send the marketer daily reports of how long the scooter travelled, where it travelled etc.

You can also innovate with scooter advertising. You can have the driver wear branded uniforms. In rural India, the scooters can be used to distribute samples, and even act as a point of sale.

What will be the advertising rates? Will this be a cost effective medium?

This will be an extremely cost effective medium. You could do a 5-day campaign with 2 scooters, which runs for 10 hours a day, for as little as Rs 30,000. This is effectively 100 hours of monitored exposure.

What will be your fleet size? How much have you invested so far?

We are starting off with five bikes. However, we are building a system on the backend to procure and re-model a bike in the lowest possible time. So whenever we do find ourselves without scooters to run a campaign, we will be able to turn around and set up units in very little time. I have invested about Rs 250,000.


Image: A tough yet exciting ride for Suyash Trivedi.

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What kind of challenges do you face?

Challenges effectively change everyday. The government permits are a big challenge we have been facing for a while now. Logistics for a campaign is something we have been trying to work out to the smallest detail. On a more macro level, we are not being able to afford an office space, working out of cafes can take its toll at times.

It's part of the process though. A lot of things, which you don't understand need to be learnt. There is no option. If you don't understand investing patterns, learn it. If you don't know how to set-up email accounts, learn it. It's a lot of fun.

How many people are there in the company? How difficult is it to convince people to join a start-up?

Currently, it's me and a couple of friends. Morpheus Venture Partners, who have incubated this business, has been working with me on this. We also have a couple of drivers, who double with sourcing bikes, a bike designing company, and a government liaison guy.

Is this a profitable business? What kind of revenues do you expect?

We are yet to begin operations. On the rural marketing front, we have begun approaching companies. And the initial response on that has been positive. About running this in cities, we are in the process of acquiring permits. About revenue expectations, I'd rather leave that for now and focus on execution and logistics.

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

It means making a lot of impact-based decisions. For the past few months, every small decision I take, small or big has an impact on how things move ahead. I never felt that at work. It also means a lot of responsibility. I think a lot before I take any decision.


Image: AdScoot logo.

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How important is innovation for an entrepreneurship to succeed?

If you don't innovate, you are dead. I know it for a fact that AdScoot can't be an outdoor scooter marketing firm all through. We have to move on, innovate and offer more than that. This is just the start. If Sony can contemplate getting into making bean sauce, and Boeing can run a furniture store, we can surely move ahead and do more than scooter advertising.

Do you have any role model who inspired you?

I've always loved Lance Armstrong. I remember reading his book a few years back, and I keep going back to it. I love Greg Mortenson for his vision and his ability to keep trying against all the odds. Steve Jobs in the business sphere has been a huge motivation. In personal life, I've learnt a lot, and been influenced by Bhavin Turakhia, Directi founder.

Could you tell us 5 things that entrepreneurs must do to succeed?

Most importantly you need to have the capacity to absorb a lot, and look at things with a larger perspective. There will be many days when nothing will work for you. Sometimes things go wrong, and they might not be in your control. But you need to remain focused with a vision.

Only when you know what you want to achieve will people know what they are working towards. I think you need to be a fast learner, because there may be many things you may have never done before. You need to have the capacity to learn, and unlearn the rubbish when needed. Work hard. And finally, celebrate the smallest of victories. It keeps you going.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I see AdScoot being a diverse marketing company, offering an array of clutter breaking, innovative and economical marketing solutions. On the personal front, I want to be a more evolved, well read, and widely travelled.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I watch a lot of movies. I enjoy writing and reading. I have a very close set of friends with whom I spend a lot of time. I love watching plays and live performances.


Image: Suyash Trivedi.

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